Climate, News, World Problems

We’re halfway past the dangerous 2 °C warming limit set by the UN, and it’s only 2015

global warming

Boy, was this year a scorcher! Well, what can I say, apart from get ready for more. According to an exclusive info ran by New Scientist, all but one main tracker of global surface temperature will report that this year will mark the first full degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. I remind you that the International Panel on Climate Change warns that a two degree Celsius warming should be avoided on all costs if irreversible consequences like sea level rise, habitat loss and cataclysmic events are to be averted. This means that we’re already halfway there, and the two degree mark might be reached by 2050. A four degree warming might end civilization as we know it.

Environmental Issues, World Problems

Global Scientists Shocked by True Scale of Ocean Warming

The last Polar Bear

When talking about global warming, we often tend to think about droughts, water shortage and desertification. But we must not forget that 72%, almost three quarters of our planet is covered in oceans – and believe it or not, that’s where global warming will strike the hardest. A thorough study Oceanic global warming is causing many marine species to change

News, Oceanography, World Problems

Warming oceans could destroy corals in the Pacific and Atlantic, researchers warn

Two images of the Great Barrier Reef showing that the warmest water (top picture) coincides with the coral reefs (lower picture), setting up conditions that can cause coral bleaching. Image via Wikipedia.

Coral populations are crucial to the health of oceanic environments, but corals are also extremely vulnerable to changing conditions. Researchers warn that warming waters and ocean acidification lead to coral bleaching which can cause massive damage across both the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Climate, News, World Problems

Dangers of global warming to marine life and ecosystems reiterated in new report

ocean global warming

A team led by scientists at University of British Columbia highlights the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans and marine life. Two scenarios were analyzed. One followed the changes that would arise if the world banded together to significantly curb greenhouse gas emissions; the other summarized impacts 100 years from now if we’d go on with business as usual. The report outlines the consequences under each scenario and found immediate action is required if we’re to avert at a catastrophic outcome, particularly regarding the planet’s oceans.

Environmental Issues, News, Videos, World Problems

The Great Barrier Reef left out of UNESCO “in danger” list, environmental group films turtle-back video to raise awareness of the area’s fragility

Image via: lt.umn.edu

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 2,000km (1,200 miles) along the coast, is the world’s largest living ecosystem. Environmental groups are pushing to get the reef listed as “in danger” by the UNESCO, so that the Australian government would have to work harder to protect it from various dangers such as pollution, dredging, fishing and so on. The UN says this

Animals, Genetics, News, World Problems

Tracing Ivory DNA helps curb massive poaching that’s killing 1 in 10 elephants each year

To keep the ivory from the black market, a plainclothes ranger hacks the tusks off a bull elephant killed illegally in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. In the first half of this year six park rangers died protecting Kenya’s elephants; meanwhile, rangers killed 23 poachers. Photograph by Brent Stirton

We seem to be losing the war on elephant poachers, but a new toolset that involves tracing slaughter hotspots in Africa based on DNA taken from ivory might be exactly what law enforcement needed all these years. This way, researchers at University of Washington, in collaboration with INTERPOL, found that most of the ivory seized since 2006 originates in just two areas.

Animals, Environment, News, World Problems

Some models no longer available: Earth enters its 6th mass extinction phase, humans accelerate the losses

Coming soon, at an intersection near you!
Image via: shutterstock.com

Geological evidence indicate that our planet has seen five mass extinction cycles since life first appeared on the planet. While they sound like the kind of cataclysmic events that only beardy men with huge boats survive through (read that in a book once, so it must be true), they are actually an integral part of life. The cycles free up

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Japan still wants to slaughter hundreds of whales “for science”

Japan doesn't stop at nothing and continues to kill whales for alleged scientific research. AAP Image/Supplied by Sea Shepherd Australia, Tim Watters

This Friday, the International Whaling Commission issued a report in which it states Japan has failed to provide any reasonable explanation for its mass killing of over 4,000 whales in the Antarctic for the past 12 years. The country says it’s hunting whales for research purposes, but clearly it’s all a front. A lame excuse. Unimpressed by the report, Japan officials claim there’s a debate and lack of consensus (not really), and even though it “acknowledges” the IWC position it will likely continue as before. In other words, they don’t care.

News, World Problems

Earth’s water basins disappearing at alarming rate, study finds

Aquifer illustration. Image via Wikipedia.

We tend to think of the Earth’s water as an inexhaustible resource; after all, you learn the basic water cycle in first grade – water moves from the rivers to the oceans and then evaporates into the atmosphere and then it comes back as rain – so how could it be disappearing? Well, the reality is much more complex than that, and as two different studies showed, we may actually be heading towards a major water crisis.

Animals, News, World Problems

All chimps – wild or captive alike – now classed as ‘endangered’ in the US

all chimps classed endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports it has classed all chimpanzees, whether captive or wild, under the Endangered Species Act. Previously, chimpanzees kept captive in labs for biomedical research, entertainment or as pets were classed as “threatened”.The USFWS director Dan Ashe agrees that this has transmitted an erroneous mixed message to the public. Whether captive (and hopefully cared for) or living in the wild, all chimps belong the same species, and this species is definitely endangered and in dire need of help.